South America: The Ultimate Travel Guide

South America has far more to offer even then the amazing Carnival in Rio or the beautiful Pampas in Argentina. Peru is currently a leading destination for foodies worldwide, while Medellin in Colombia is one of the most innovative cities globally. Then you have Machu Picchu and Patagonia basically begging for a visit. Of course, time will be tight if you want to visit all the highlights of the fourth largest continent in the world in one go! With an area of 17,843,000 km², the continent is smaller than North America, but larger than Antarctica. So plan carefully!

Table of Contents

Travel Guides for Your Trip in South America

Want to learn more about a specific country in South America? Dive right in below.

Top 10 Tourist Attractions

Machu Picchu in Südamerika durch Wolken gesehen

#1 Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, Peru

Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca city in the Andes, is one of the most famous sights in South America. Although it is located on a remote high plateau at an altitude of 2,430 meters, over 1.4 million people visit the incredibly well-preserved ruins every year.

#2 Sugarloaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

From the top of this Rio landmark you get a wonderful view far out over the Atlantic, of the Copacabana, the Christ the Redeemer and the Favela. A cable car, which is also called “O Bondinho” or “the little train”, takes you up there.

#3 Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

For a good view of Sugar Loaf Moutain, the visitor platform of the Christ statue is perfect. “Christo Redentor” Or Christ, the Redeemer, spreads his arms protectively over the whole city – an impressive symbol.

#4 Salt Flate of Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

The snow-white salt landscape of “Salar de Uyuni” looks almost like a huge, frozen lake. On jeep tours, you can take Instagram-worthy photos of the largest salt pan on earth.

#5 Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands are widely recognized as one of the best wildlife viewing destinations. Giant tortoises, marine iguanas and sea lions are just a few stars of the species-rich Galapagos wildlife.

#6 Culinary Scenes in Lima, Peru

Lima has developed into a top destination for foodies and gourmets in recent years. You can even book multi-day culinary adventure tours.

#7 Medellin, Colombia

Medellin is increasingly evolving to become a model city in Latin America. Once known for drug cartels and crime, the city has done so much for improvement in recent years that it is now considered one of the most innovative cities in the world. Modern public libraries and a sophisticated local transport system with emission-friendly cable cars are trendsetting.

#8 National Park, Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile

Turquoise blue lakes, snow-covered glaciers, guanacos and Andean foxes await you in Torres del Paine. The park can also be explored on horseback or trekking tours.

#9 Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Over the years many famous songs have been sung about the 2.5 mile-long sandy beach of the Copacabana. So it’s hardly surprising that everyone knows it and associates it with glamor and bling.

#10 Kap Hoorn, Chile

To stand just once at the southernmost tip of South America… We have no doubt that many travelers harbor a a longing for this. Particularly because there are so many spectacular seafaring stories about this legendary headland.

Top 5 Underrated Places

Die bunte Stadt von Valparaiso in Südamerika

#1 Valparaíso, Chile

The colorful streets of the port city of Valparaíso have enchanted many holidaymakers over the years. Elevators and funiculars typical of this city will lift you up the (many) hills, from which you’ll also discover lovely views.

#2 Montevideo, Uruguay

Montevideo, just opposite Buenos Aires in Uruguay is an amazing insider’ tip. The old town, with its many lively squares, street cafes and houses in the Spanish-French style simply exudes charm.

#3 Los Roques Nationalpark, Venezuela

Caribbean feeling is aplenty in Los Roques National Park. White beaches, turquoise blue water and colorful coral reefs are a paradise for divers and snorkelers. Surfing is also possible.

#4 Yungas-Straße, La Paz, Bolivia

A trip on the Yungas Road, which connects La Paz with Caranavi, is a thrill. In principle, it is a narrow gravel road with no guard rails on steep slopes and is also called the “road of death” because of its dangerousness. You can go there by car or bike. Be safe!

#5 Iguazú Falls, Argentina and Brazil

The impressive waterfalls of the Iguazú River lie on the border between Argentina and Brazil. A visit is possible from either country. From the Argentine side you can get a little closer and can experience the roar more intensely.

TOP 5 Instagrammable Spots

Desert in Südamerika mit rot und blau Farben

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#christoredentor (13,291 posts)

#swingattheendoftheworld (4,000 posts)

Fun Facts about South America – Did you know…?

… that you should never arrive on time in South America? It’ll only make you uncomfortable. It is best to arrive at least half an hour later!

… that Colombia is the third largest coffee exporter in the world (just after Brazil and Vietnam)?

… that La Paz in Bolivia is the highest capital in the world? Those who travel to La Paz often suffer from altitude sickness at 3,640 meters above sea level.

… that a large part of the electricity in Paraguay is generated by hydropower?

… that inmates of the prison of Santa Rita do Sapucaí in Brazil can shorten their sentences by pedaling hard? Street lights are lit up with the electricity generated. Kicking three full days means one day less imprisonment. Alternatively, they can take part in the ‘Redemption through reading’ program, to shave some more days off!